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TUCoPS :: Radio :: aor8000.txt

AOR-8000 Frequently Asked Questions




             Scan*Star(tm) Application Note #5

            AOR-8000 Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright (C) 1995 by Signal Intelligence - All Rights Reserved
      Scan*Star is a trademark of Signal Intelligence.


In February 1995, Signal Intelligence added support for the AOR-
8000 to the Scan*Star Commercial Edition software package. The
AOR-8000 is a unique product in that it includes features not
found in other computer controlled radios. The purpose of this
application note is to provide answers to some common technical
questions that have been asked. For more information on
Scan*Star, contact Signal Intelligence at 1-408-926-5630.

What's an EEPROM? An EEPROM is a memory chip that does not re-
quire a battery to retain information. This type of chip is
widely used in consumer electronics to hold data that must be
saved after power to the unit is switched off. The EEPROM in the
AOR-8000 holds 32,768 bytes of data.

What's in the AOR-8000 EEPROM? The EEPROM in the '8000 has all
programmed information, including frequencies, modes, search
ranges, lockout lists, control settings and the band plan. In
fact, the EEPROM in the AOR-8000 holds ALL data that must be
retained after the radio is turned off. Interestingly, the EEPROM
data contains several persons names, presumably the names of the
engineers who developed the '8000.

What's not in the AOR-8000 EEPROM? The program code that actually
runs the microprocessor is not in the EEPROM. Neither is the
"Welcome to the world of AR8000 receiver" message. The only text
messages found in the EEPROM are the alpha channel tags.

Why do some people know so much about the EEPROM? The cloning
feature that allows one AOR-8000 to copy itself to another unit
is easily "spoofed". It's fairly easy to write a computer program
to "pretend" that it's a second AR-8000, allowing the EEPROM
contents to be copied to a disk file on the PC. A number of
people have done this, and there have been numerous public dis-
cussions about what each byte in the EEPROM is used for.
Scan*Star uses this technique.

Why did AOR include the clone feature? While an interesting fea-
ture, few peop
le will buy more than one AR-8000. It's likely the
real reason for including cloning is to simplify the manufactur-
ing process. Many countries around the world (U.S. included) have
band restrictions. Band utilization varies from country to coun-
try and region to region. The cloning feature allows AOR to
manufacture a single hardware design that can be customized for
the destination market by a simple process prior to shipment.

Are the units shipped to different countries all the same? As far
as we know, yes. The only difference being what's programmed into
the radio EEPROM prior to shipment. There have been revisions in
the hardware design, but this is to be expected.

Do the computer interfaces impact capabilities? The computer
interfaces sold in the U.S. and other countries, while different,
are not much more than level converters. The U.S. unit, sold by
EDCO, provides the squelch signal on an RS-232 lead. This speeds
up scanning when under control of a computer. Otherwise, no other
differences have been noted.

Are there hidden, undocumented commands? Yes. This is a common
practice in consumer electronics, especially ones that include
complicated control programs. Their purpose is to support the
development and testing of the product. Debug commands are often
retained in software after a product ships to help resolve prob-
lems that show up later. As far as we know, there are at least
three other commands, besides the SI command mentioned in the
U.S. documentation.

Can the EEPROM contents be altered? Yes. Scan*Star Commercial
includes a feature that uses the cloning process to copy the
EEPROM to the computer. Once on the computer, the data in the
EEPROM image file can be viewed or changed, and then cloned back
into the radio. Any byte in the EEPROM can be changed. This
feature must be used with caution, since any of the operating
parameters of the radio can be changed, and could result in
improper operation.

Can the band plan be altered? Yes. Scan*Star Commercial will
decode the band plan from the EEPROM image file and present it in
a formatted edit screen. You can add, remove or change entries.
Scan*Star includes a North American band database, and this
feature allows you to look up specific bands in the database and
transfer the data to the AOR-8000 band plan.


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